Blue Jays: Bartolo Colon intends to pitch, could actually make sense in Toronto
45 year old Bartolo Colon hopes to pitch another season in the big leagues, and the rebuilding Blue Jays could make a lot of sense as a landing spot.
The Blue Jays are going to need some help for their pitching staff this offseason, and there’s a good chance that Ross Atkins will be doing some shopping in the free agent market.
The Jays may well spend some decent money on their rotation if the right fit works out, especially considering that their payroll is expected to be down pretty significantly from the last few seasons. However, there’s a good chance that Atkins will seek at least a couple of veterans starters to join a group that includes Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Ryan Borucki, and others like Thomas Pannone, Sean Reid-Foley, and Sam Gaviglio.
If you ask me, the ideal scenario would be to have the latter three arms available as rotation depth, either serving in Triple-A Buffalo, or perhaps as a bullpen swingman in the case of Gaviglio. I fully expect the Jays to try to sign one “guaranteed” arm that could help eat some innings, and again, I don’t think they’ll be afraid to spend a bit of dough to fill that need. For that other spot though, I would expect a variety of buy-low candidates to be brought in for spring training, and there are some interesting options on the market.
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One unexpected option could come in the form of a 45 year old veteran. At this stage there haven’t been any ties between Colon and the Blue Jays or anything, but the ageless wonder has said he intends to pitch in 2019 if he can find another gig. He wasn’t very good in 2018 with the Rangers when he went 7-12 with a 5.78 ERA in 28 appearances (24 starts), but there are actually a few reasons that he could make sense in Toronto next season.
The Blue Jays are not expected to contend next season, as it’ll be a season of youthful transition, but the kids aren’t quite ready to take the reigns yet, at least not on the pitching side of things. MLB teams routinely need a dozen or more starters, and even if everything went right for guys like Pannone, Reid-Foley, Gaviglio, and Borucki, it’s irresponsible to assume they can consider an entire season. The same could be said for counting on Sanchez to remain healthy, and even Stroman battled some pretty serious blister issues last fall.
Colon brings the ability to stay healthy, and just keep pitching. “Big Sexy” might not have the ace upside that he did 15 years ago, but he would be a virtual lock to take the ball every fifth day for as long as they needed him to. For a young team in a rebuild, that sort of thing has a fair bit of value, especially in the interest of protecting their young arms, and not putting too much pressure or too many miles on them.
He’s also not the type that should be too miffed if he’s eventually bumped for a younger arm, as it’s not exactly the first time it’s happened. I suspect the Rangers had a similar plan when they signed him last offseason, but rotation injuries required that he throw 145 innings, which helped them through a difficult year.
And if I’m being totally honest, it would be pure entertainment to bring him in to this young group of players. He’s pretty much universally liked, and the Dominican native would have a lot of knowledge and experience to pass on to the youngsters. While it isn’t the type of move a contending team would even consider, for the 2019 Blue Jays it may actually make a fair bit of sense.